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Ice Damming on Your Roof: Causes, Prevention, and Solutions

Updated: Feb 19

Ice damming and ice build up on your roof. Understand the causes, prevention, and solutions to ice build up.

Winter in Ontario brings its own set of challenges for homeowners, and one of the most common issues faced during this season is ice damming on roofs. Ice dams can cause significant damage to roofs, leading to leaks, water damage, and even structural issues. In this blog, we'll explore what ice damming is, why it's a concern, and how homeowners can prevent and address this winter woe.

What is Ice Damming?

Wondering what causes ice damming? Ice damming occurs when snow on the roof melts and then refreezes near the edges, creating a dam or build-up of ice. As the dam forms, it prevents melting snow from properly draining off the roof, leading to water pooling behind the dam. This standing water can find its way under shingles and into the home, causing damage to ceilings, walls, insulation, and other structural elements.

Ice daming and ice build up on your roof and understanding the causes, prevention, and solutions

Why are Ontario Homes Prone to Ice Damming?

  • Snowfall: Ontario experiences significant snowfall during the winter months. When this snow accumulates on roofs, it provides the potential for ice dams to form.

  • Freezing and Thawing: Ontario's winter weather often involves temperature fluctuations, with periods of freezing followed by thaws. This cycle contributes to the melting and refreezing of snow on roofs, creating ideal conditions for ice dams.

  • Roof Design: The architectural design of some homes in Ontario, such as those with steep slopes or complex roof structures, can contribute to uneven snow distribution and increase the likelihood of ice dams forming.

How to Prevent Ice Damming:

Proper Insulation:

  • Ensure your attic is well-insulated to prevent warm air from escaping and melting the snow on the roof.


  • Adequate attic ventilation helps maintain a consistent temperature on the roof, minimizing the risk of uneven snow melting and ice dam formation.

Snow Removal:

  • Safely remove excess snow from the roof using a roof rake or by hiring professionals. This helps prevent the buildup of snow that could contribute to ice dams.

Sealing Gaps:

  • Seal any gaps, cracks, or openings in the attic to prevent warm air from reaching the roof.

Eavestrough/Gutter Maintenance:

  • Keep gutters clean and free of debris to ensure proper drainage. This helps prevent ice dams from forming in eavestroughs and causing water backup.

How To Get Rid Of An Ice Dam: If ice dams have already formed, it's crucial to remove them carefully to prevent damage. Safety is a priority when dealing with snow and ice on roofs. It is recommended that homeowners contact a professional to safely remove the ice dam. At Guaranteed Roofing, we have decades of experience dealing with ice dams on roofs from King Township to Sundridge. 

Whether you live in York Region, Simcoe County, Muskoka, or Almaguin, ice damming is a common winter challenge, but with proactive measures, it can be prevented. At Guaranteed Roofing, we have the experience and expertise to help homeowners protect their roofs from the damaging effects of ice dams. Call us to help with preventative measures, to complete maintenance, or to inspect a potential ice dam. Stay ahead of winter weather, and enjoy a safe and secure home throughout the chilly months in beautiful Ontario! Have questions? Give us a call at (905) 713-6837.


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